Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Elf on the Shelf - A Christmas Tradition

More than a month later I am FINALLY blogging again. October has been notoriously my busiest month with photoshoots & weddings. Fall color & nice weather has kept my bum working from sun up to sunset every weekend & several days during the week. I can't lie, I am glad that is has significantly slowed down. While I can't figure out what to do on weekends yet, I really like being home with my kiddos & actually being able to see my family. That is really nice.

So, back to what this blog post is really about. The Elf on the Shelf. You may or may not know what this is. It is pretty awesome so if you don't, get on it. We started ours a few days early but we also have our Christmas tree up & almost all our Christmas decor. lol

The Elf on the Shelf is a fantastic kids book that comes with an adorable little Elf. According to the book he is YOUR Elf. You get to name him. We named ours Drew. Each night Drew flies back to the North Pole to tell Santa how the kids were each day. Then he comes home early each morning & hides. Apparently Elves really like to play hide & seek. Perfect for Kegan & Karie who are always up for a game. The game is supposed to start after Thanksgiving, but since we got Drew yesterday it was almost impossible to wait! Plus, like I said, we are already well into the Christmas Spirit so why not.

This is something I have wanted to do with the kids for a few years now. I love having traditions. I am such a sucker for Holidays/Birthday's so this is just perfect for us. Unfortunately a few years ago the kids were too small to really understand what the Elf on the Shelf was. But this year being 5 and almost 4 I thought it was a perfect year to start this tradition!

Last night was our first night with Drew. We sat in Kegan's bed & read the story with Drew sitting on Kegan's shelf listening to us tell his story. The kids loved the book. They asked 7,000 questions & couldn't wait for the morning to find him!

Since we have dogs and we have one, Kooper, who likes to chew things I told the kids that Drew likes to hide up high. The last night we'd want is for the kids to wake up & find Drew's head on the floor & his chewed body spread all over the living room! Yikes!

This morning the kids woke up & had to look for him! I hid him pretty easy (in the Christmas tree) so it took Kegan less than a minute to spot him. He is still currently sitting up there. Why you ask? Well, Kegan said that Drew likes to be up there because he can see everything going on in the living room & kitchen and that it is his job to tell Santa what we do so he can see it better there. lol Smart kiddo!

Of course what would a blog post be without some pictures! So without further adieu, I'd love to share some pictures of the newest member of our family, Drew!

Pretty easy hiding spot huh! lol I have lots of ideas on where to hide him & I am sure the internet can help me with some as well. They will only get more creative & more fun as the days past. I hope to document each night as well!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pinehaven Farm Field Trip

The day after the Run Hop Ride Fundraiser was the Field Trip to Pinehaven Farm. They needed parents to volunteer so I did. Kegan wanted me to go. If he didn't, I wouldn't have gone. I don't want to be one of THOSE parents!

Each parent had their kid & one other kid to keep track of. I had Kegan & Saywer but also had Kegan's friend Stevie tag along with us too.

Stevie, Saywer & Kegan. Look how cute they are!!!

Our group went to feed the animals first. There were lots of animals there & the kids loved it. They got all the food that they wanted to keep them which is so nice.

This makes me want a goat, however I don't want to clean up all their poop. lol

After feeding the animals they went & got their pumpkins. Parents got them too which was great. I was going to buy one for Karie but this worked great! After that we went to the playground. The kids LOVED this & honestly would have spend the entire trip there.

There were slides EVERYWHERE! This slide was the first one that most of the kids went on until they found the barn with like 6 different slides in it. They pretty much lived in that thing!

Of course I had to crawl in here to get some pictures. lol

They also had these trikes on steroids for the kids to ride around on.

They were hardcore!

The place was awesome & we for sure have to go back. Even if it was just for the park. I know Karie would really enjoy it!

Run Hop Ride

Kegan's Pre K school is in desperate need of a new playground. Currently they have a wooden play set that is about 20 years old. They are raising money to buy a new one. A metal one that will last a lot longer. Those things are cheap so they had something fun for the kids to do to raise money. In the past they sold things. AKA the parents had to sell stuff because the kids are far too little to do that. So this was perfect. They have a race. They wanted each kid to raise $100. That way they'd be half way to their goal.

Kegan raised $125. I bet if he would have asked more people he could have raised more. But $125 is more than the goal so I am proud of him.

I worked at the race. They needed parents to help out & direct the kids where to go. I helped out at the tunnel. I cheered for kids to run to me & then cheer for them as they crawled through the tunnel. If you know me. you know I probably rocked this. haha I am such a cheery happy dork so just picture me with Pom Poms cheering really loud for these little 4 & 5 year old kids. lol It was fun.

Kyle was off the day of the race so when it was Kegan time to run he came out with Karie to take a video of it. I forgot to mention too that each kid ran alone. I thought that was awesome so that every kid won!

First the kids rode on a scooter or a bike.

They walked on a balance beam (which I didn't get a picture of) and then they ran to me! RUN RUN RUN!

The then tunnel. It was pretty little but the kids are little. You wouldn't catch me in that thing! lol

Stepping stones & then the Finish line! I love it! So cute!

At the end of the race we had all the kiddos pose under the Finish line for some pictures.

How cute is his class? They all go a little "Winner" ribbon. Kegan wore is ALL day long! He never wanted to take a nap and we had to save it to put it in his school projects box. So fun!!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Kegan, my little man!

Since Kegan started school I have been really lacking in posts. Last week was an emotional one that I will get into another time. So that is why I didn't post at all last week. This week is is only Monday so lets hope it stays on this pace! lol

If you don't know me very well, you will still probably know my love of my camera. If you have known me for a while you know that I take pictures just about every day. I have been doing that since before my kids were born. It's just something I do. So, Kegan has been in school for 7 days as of today.

I took his picture the first day of school, then the second & then the third. I then decided I would try & do pictures daily. In the same area if would be better. Of course when it's 20 below in the winter that isn't going to happen. lol But, the weather has been nice enough to do all his pictures outside. So here are last weeks...and today's pictures!

All the kids at school got their new bags. Kegan was really excited to get a blue one. If you didn't know already, that is his favorite color. If it's blue, he needs to have it. It doesn't matter what it is, if it's blue, it's his. lol

This was day 5. This was a hard day for him. He didn't want to go to school. Not sure why but thankfully was easy every day after this. He is also rocking his Halloween tattoos. He was really excited to show them off at school!

Day 6 & sporting all blue! lol This is one of his favorite shirts. One because it's blue, duh, and the other because it's like his dads. Kyle wears a lot of button up shirts & Keegs likes to be like his dad.

Then there is today, day 7. Such a handsome little dude. He was excited to go to school today. He also go new school shoes too! That is always fun!

I am glad he is getting the hang of going to school. He has many many more years of it ahead of him. lol He has a lot of cool stuff coming up soon too! He has a field trip & he also has a fun raiser that is a track & field event! I can't wait to see how that goes! The boy LOVES to run! I am volunteering at that event. I haven't decided if I am going to go to the field trip or not, I have to decide that soon! I liked it so much when my mom came to my field trips.

I wonder how many days I can get away with taking his pictures until he starts to complain.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pre K here we come!

Monday Kegan started Pre K at Noah's Ark in Circle Pines. While he is old enough to start Kindergarten (his birthday is in August) we feel that holding him back a year was best. They say boys born around the Kindergarten cut off benefit from an extra year! Funny enough a lot of my friends with boys born around the same time are also holding off until next year. So, Kegan started Pre K this week. I still can't believe that my boy is old enough to be in school. It boggles me mind!

I was nervous. Kegan was nervous. I play cool. I didn't want him to know just how nervous I was. I was excited, don't get me wrong, but this was the first time Kegan was going to be away from me with anyone other than very close family. I was nervous for him. Before class I dropped Karie off with my aunt Patty. I had no idea how it was going to go & I didn't want Karie there if I had to spend the first 20 minutes of class there with him.

He was excited to use his new backpack. His school hadn't gotten in their new bags for the kids so Batman was able to make an appearance. Of course wearing his new favorite shirt, Superman. Pretty much anything blue will do these days. It was very warm that day, 90 degrees so shorts it was. His first homework assinment was to fill out this train. The only way it could have been more prefect for my train loving boy is if the train was blue! lol It asked for his birthday, what his favorite food was & what he likes to do. He said his favorite food was Pizz and that he likes to play in his tree house & with his legos. Aww!

The drop off was emotional. He cried a lot. At first he was okay. We signed him in & checked out his room. He even went to the big table & played at bit.

When he realized that I wasn't staying he started to cry. I hugged him & I started to cry. I didn't let him see it because I didn't want him to think that I was scared. I wasn't, I was just really sad that he was sad. :( His teacher was really nice & kind of took over. She talked to him & was trying to distract him from being sad. I gave him a hug & a kiss & said I would be back in a few hours. I didn't want to prolong the sad. I knew from my years of helping my aunts teach Sunday School that the longer the parents stay, the harder it is. So I left making sure he knew I'd be back. I walked in the hall & cried. He cried. I collected myself a few minutes later. I peeked around the corner & there he was fine & dandy playing.

A few hours later, like I told him, I picked him up. He came running to me yelling "MOMMY!" He was so excited. We went to his basket & looked at all the things he got & made. It was pretty neat to see my boy have projects to bring home. He even said he wanted to go back the next day.

Tuesday was good. While the morning was quite crazy & I thought we were going to be late, we weren't. They are redoing the streets in our neighborhood so we have to park at the end of the block. Kegan was having troubles with his shoes so I was worried. But we weren't!

Kegan had the sharing bag which means he had to bring something to show off in class. I was really curious about what he'd bring. He has a million toys & everything is his favorite. lol He picked his car. I asked him why the car & he said "Because my dad made it for me." Awwww See Kyle works for Lowes & sometimes the Boy Scouts come in to make these race cars. They asked Kyle to run one of these sessions because he knows the most about tools. So before the kids came in Kyle made a test car knowing that he would be giving it to Kegan. He has loved it since. He is really excited to paint it with Kyle sometime soon.

School went okay. He tripped at the playground & fell & only cried a little bit. He was okay. He was a lot more tight lipped around what he did in class. However he did spend a majority of the afternoon singing a song he learned. It was cute.

Wednesday was a rough day. He woke up on the wrong side of the bed & was crabby. We all have those days.

You can tell by his uber fake smile that he wasn't happy. He was happy however to hug Karie for some reason. Probably because he didn't want to leave & knew that it would make me want to take a picture & delay going to school.

The drop off was tough & there were tears. :( It was sad. When I picked him he was happy & ready to see me. That lasted all about 3 seconds when he turned back into Crabasourus Rex. He said he cried a lot at school. I am not 100% sure because he wouldn't tell me. I emailed his teacher to ask her what happened to make him so upset. It isn't really like him to be this way but then again, it could be just one of those days.

I am not going to paint a picture of my family as perfect. We are far from it. lol Kegan is having a less than perfect day & that is okay.

He is off school now until Monday. Hopefully Monday goes better than today. I know that he will eventually get into a routine & it will be okay. Right now things are just super new for him & it is kind of scary.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9-11-2011 - 10 Years Later

September 11th, 2001 fell on a Tuesday. I was 17 & in my Senior year of High School at Centennial in Circle Pines. I woke up & got ready for school. I wore my favorite pair of jeans, red tank top & my favorite red & gray zip up sweater, which I still have by the way. I drove to school in my blue VW Jetta & went to my first class.

It was Business Math, a class I really enjoyed. Our teacher was super fun & I had several friends in class. I was early, like always. I sat down in my seat with the few other early birds & our teacher turn on CNN which was something we always did. The click of those buttons changed our lives. We had no idea what was going on. All we saw was panic. It didn't take long to realize that a plane crashed into one of the towers in NYC. It was so early that they didn't know if it was an accident or even any details. We sat there in shock. Little was said while we watched. A huge gasp was heard when the second plane hit.

While we were thousands of miles away from what was happening we were all scared. We had no idea if something like this was going to happen here. We had no idea who was doing it. It was so new & so scary. I had very little connection personally it. A friend of my dads had many family members in NYC & the place I worked at the time had a store in one of the towers. Besides that, I just knew about the Twin Towers. I remember my teacher saying "Remember this moment. Your children will be asking you where you were when this happened." Little did we know at the moment just how true that was.

The details we saw were graphic. As the cameras panned up on the buildings we saw people sticking their bodies out the windows above where the plane crashed into the building. They were unsure what was going on but knew that there was no way out for them. And then it happened, people started to jump out the window. My heart was in my stomach & I couldn't believe I was watching this living nightmare.

We sat in horror in our classrooms as we watched both towers collapse. I felt sick. It was so scary. It was a very unreal feeling as I am sure everyone can relate to. Could this really be happening? The rest of the day was quite a blur. I remember going to my classes but the halls were quiet compared to regular school days. Classrooms weren't filled with teachers teaching but filled with scared kids glued to the TV. I went home that night & watched the news all night with my family. Thankful they were alive & sadden that so many people lost their family members & friends.

Americans woke up that morning like any other days but went to sleep forever changed.

We will never forget. 9-11-2001

Friday, September 9, 2011

What were you doing 8 years ago?

It was 2003 & it was my second day at my new job. I didn't know waking up that day that I would be meeting the man I was going to marry! It was like any other day at any other new job. I remember going in for training like everyone had to do their first week. I worked downtown Minneapolis & our offices were in two buildings. Kyle & I worked in the same building but training was in another. For some reason Kyle had to make up part of the day at my training class. So after lunch he walked with me from one building to the other. I remember being so nervous. I maybe said 3 words to him walk over. I thought he was SO cute. I was barely 19 & probably the shyest person you'd ever meet. If you know me now you might not believe that. I am extremely outgoing & talk to just about anyone in any situation.

I remember towards the end of training our class played a game. We had to be split into 2 teams & Kyle was on my team. He sat next to me. I remember him saying to me "Do my feet smell?" as he shows me that he has no shoes on. Yea...he had game. lol I could barely spit out the word no because I was so nervous. Our team won the game. We won these random fish. Some were blue & some were orange. We traded our fish because he knew I wanted the blue one. Random right?!

After that we went back to the other office & went home. I was blogging back then too. I have been blogging since about 1995 & started my online journal in 2002. So I went back & read my journal from that day. Here are a few highlights:

"I went to the second half of training with Kyle today. He's adorable. I was so nervous talking to him. I felt like such a dork."

lol It is true. I remember thinking how nerdy he must think I am. I was so awkward & shy. He was so handsome & confident. I just couldn't believe he was talking to me. I also said:

"I have the dumbest smile on my face. It's been there all day."

How funny is that? I remember that day so vividly. I had just gotten out of a relationship & wasn't looking for anything serious. I didn't even think that I had a chance with Kyle honestly. lol I was the dorky awkward girl & he was the hot fresh out of college guy. lol Opposites do attract!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Apple Orchard Round #2

So it has been only 2 days since we were last at the Orchard, but we decided to go again. This time without Kyle & adding some friends. My girlfriend Chalayne came along with her two girls, Ally & Kate. We have done this in the past & this will not be the last time we do it this year either!

The kids were all slightly insane today. But from my feed on Facebook it looks like it wasn't just our kids that were losing their minds. lol It seemed to be a nationwide trend. Either way, we had a good time.

All the kids checked out the "Apple Factory" but sadly it wasn't on. Doesn't matter though because they liked to see everything.

I love how they display their apples for people to buy! It is so insanely cute!

Of course you can't leave the building without your apple treats. On top of our donuts we also bought Apple Syrup. We have never had it before so we thought we'd try it! We had our snacks & the kids ran around like crazy people stopping a few times to play a quick game of "Ring Around the Rosey".

Such goofballs. Then it was off to the red barn to take a picture of the kids. We did it last year & I knew we had to try it again. We sat the kids down in the same order they were last year. Pretty sure this needs to be a yearly though. I don't think however they will all fit on those steps when they are bigger. lol

I can't believe in one year how much they have all grown!

lol I love it! So cute! After that we walked back down to the other red barn to check out all the old apple farming stuff!

The kids for the most part were being insane. We told them not to run, they ran more. We told them to run, they ran faster. lol Nothing was working. I knew that I had to capture their craziness even though it was driving me nuts!

Kind of perfect. I love these little munchkins!

Fall is in the air!

Now that it is unofficially fall, it means that it is Apple Orchard Season. If you know me...even a little will know that I have an unhealthy obsession/love with Apple Orchards. I say unhealthy because I have a love for Apple Donuts. I could eat them buy the box full. I eat one or two donuts a year but when it comes to Apple Orchard Season, I don't even want to give you a number! Lets just say it is far to many. lol But they are so good & so hard to say no to. I'd call myself an expert when it comes to all things Apple Orchard related. I have my favorites. Unfortunately my favorites aren't all close. One of my favorites happens to be in Northfield...45 minutes away. That one we only go to once a year...but it is well worth it. They probably the best Apple Donuts. When those suckers come out fresh, it puts any other donut to shame! Yum! They also have the biggest pumpkins I've ever seen & a killer Orchard for pictures. Pretty sure I am going to do family pictures there later this fall.

For me the season started on Tuesday (always the day after Labor Day in my eyes) so spending a few hours at the Orchard just felt like a great way to kick off the season! It was just the 4 of us that went. Of course it being so early in the season there wasn't many people at all. Plus it was a weekday so that helped. We went to Pine Tree in White Bear Lake. I adore this Orchard. It is a smaller one with not a lot of kid activities but I still really love it. They have a huge barn where they have a billion kinds of apple treats (they have awesome Apple Donuts), a big machine that separates the apples, they have juices, ciders & maple products too. It's fun! Of course samples of the different kids of apples too! You can walk a bit of the Orchard & check out the history of the place too. They have picnic tables to eat lunch at and/or your apple treats as well. Sunday & Monday they have tractor rides (which every kid loves) and come closer to Halloween they have a few kid related things out. Even without that stuff. They kids have a blast. It's big so they can run off their sugar highs from the donuts & us parents can sit back & watch our kids enjoy one of our favorite places.

Of course what would be trip to the Orchard without pictures?! I went for a more vintage look with the pictures too. Trying something a little different.

Even though it isn't a pick your own Orchard, Karie always feels the need to do it. She LOVES apples & will scarf them down pretty quickly. Some people may gag at the fact that she picked the apple from the tree & just ate it without washing it. There are such things as good germs ya know. ;)

I love this little area. Year after year I take pictures in this area. Pretty much the same tree! I love it.

Kegan was totally rocking the faux hawk & Gingham button down. How cute is that? It's so fally. lol I know it's not a word but whatever. He totally looks like he belongs there!

While Kegan is the only kid on the planet who doesn't eat fruit (totally broken) he sure likes the look & feel of apples so I couldn't resists getting a picture. Plus, I was planning to take a picture to use on my fanpage on Facebook, Coopet Photography, and that is what I did!

We headed down the hill to buy our donuts & have a mini picnic!

Of course you'd think my family was only 3 people as you don't see me very often since I am always taking the pictures. One of these trips though I am forcing the husband to be the picture taker. I need to look like I was there too! lol

Since it was our first donuts of the year we had to take a few pictures with them. lol They are insanely tasty let me tell ya. If you haven't ever had them, my soul hurts for you. They are delish!

And finally "Hey Karie, let's smell them." hahahaha Oh geeze! Could they be any cuter? Don't think so!

Because we love the Orchard so much....we are going there again tonight with some friends...I am sure I will have my camera with tonight too!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My Week According to Instagram

These last two weeks have been a complete blur for the most part! I have been so busy! With a trip out of town, The State Fair, Valleyfair & 4 weddings I have been a busy lady! Not to mention Kegan starting Preschool next week & having his birthday party too! That is just the stuff I can remember! lol So, I missed last weeks Instagram update. I was SUPPOSED to do it again yesterday...and failed. Instead, I am going to cram the last two weeks into one post! lol

1. This is how I found Karie. She passed out on the couch with  her tea cup in her hand.
2. Another sleeping picture of Karie. Aww she loves her Hello Kitty she got from our friend Jennifer for Christmas.
3. When we were on vaca the kids collected as many shells as they could. This was just from ONE outing!!
4. I love this picture so much! It is Kegan on my dads shoulders as they walked through Big Island.
5. Karie & Nancy catching some sun at the pool!
6. Me too!!!
7. Karie & I! Aww love her.
8. Karie holding her first fish.
9. This was my first attempt at a french braid.
10. Getting ready to go out. We took the boat to dinner which was so neat!
11. This was the sunset we saw when we were leaving dinner that night. We saw the whole thing from the boat. Amazing.
12. lol Karie holding Hawk. I find this so amusing because Hawk is the biggest crab I know!
13. Watching Transformers in the backyard!
14. CUPCAKE NAILS! This was my first attempt & not so bad.
15. I did Karie's too so we matched!
16. We went to the fair & Karie passed out. She was so tired.
17. Kegan on the ATV!
18. Tyler & I went to Valleyfair & the last time we were on the "Monster" (we call it the Octopus) we did this same picture.
19. My pups! I don't post about them enough!